4 Sochi medallists latest to get life ban

BERLIN • Five more Russian competitors from the 2014 Sochi Olympics were banned for life over anti-doping rule violations on Monday, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saying Russia's former anti-doping chief-turned-whistle-blower was telling the truth.

The banned athletes include Dmitrii Trunenkov and Aleksei Negodailo, both in the gold-medal winning, four-man bobsleigh team, plus biathlon 4x6km relay silver medallists Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina, who also won silver in the 7.5 km event.

In addition, Sergei Chudinov, who came fifth in the men's individual skeleton, was also disqualified for doping breaches.

The bans bring the total number of Russian athletes suspended from the Games for life to 19, with the IOC annulling results following widespread doping and tampering with samples of Russian athletes during the Sochi Games.

The latest sanctions come just a week before a crucial IOC meeting to decide whether Russia can compete in next February's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The IOC also published its reasoning behind the lifetime ban of cross-country gold medallist Alexander Legkov - the first Russian to be sanctioned as part of its investigation.

It said it was proven that he was part of a scheme to tamper with the samples at Sochi.

The Olympic body is re-testing all Russian athletes' samples from those Games following revelations by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow's discredited anti-doping laboratory, of a scheme to cover up home competitors' positive samples.

The IOC launched two investigations following his claims, with one focusing on the Sochi Games re-tests and the other looking at allegations of systematic state-backed doping.

The Olympic body on Monday said that in Legkov's case, evidence provided by Rodchenkov was used and deemed credible.

"The (IOC) Disciplinary Commission has come to the conclusion that Dr Rodchenkov was telling the truth when he provided explanations of the cover-up scheme that he managed," it said in its decision.

The Sochi scandal is part of a broader doping affair that has led to the suspension of Russia's anti-doping agency Rusada, its athletics federation and Paralympic Committee.

REUTERS, AGENCE-FRANCE PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2017, with the headline '4 Sochi medallists latest to get life ban'. Print Edition | Subscribe